Houston Hospitals Deal with Shifting Health Care Landscape

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After Michael Covert submitted his resignation as CEO of the St. Luke’s Health System in June, the initial announcement came not from his Houston bosses, but from the Colorado headquarters of its owner, Catholic Health Initiatives.

The Houston Chronicle reports the internal email, sent to Catholic Health CEOs around the nation and absent customary expressions of thanks, widely was interpreted as evidence the move was driven by the national office, unhappy about St. Luke’s multimillion dollar losses.

Around the country, health care system governing boards increasingly are losing patience as their hospitals struggle to adjust to a rapidly shifting health care landscape — one characterized by declining insurance reimbursements, a push to get patients into outpatient clinics, policy uncertainty in Washington and the replacement of the old fee-for-service model with value-based care. The combined forces have resulted in a sharp downturn in the operating margins of hospitals.

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